Phoenix slips past Alaska on buzzer beater from Phelps
Phoenix got a share of the top spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup after fending off Alaska, 95-93, Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Eugene Phelps bailed out the Fuel Masters with a layup at the buzzer as they improved to 2-0 and tied with NLEX at the top spot.
The Aces, meanwhile, dropped to 0-2 and extended their losing skid to 10 games dating back to the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Our veterans delivered today, they showed heart and made the crucial plays down the stretch,” said Phoenix head coach Ariel Vanguardia in Filipino. “It was like a playoff game but credit to Alaska for giving us a hell of a game.”
LaDontae Henton gave Alaska the 91-90 lead with 41.1 seconds left after tipping in Calvin Abueva’s miss but former Ace RJ Jazul responded with a three-pointer to swing the lead back to Phoenix, 93-91, with 29.2 remaining.
Chris Banchero would give the Aces another lease on life when he converted on a gorgeous tip-in with 21.1 seconds left to tie the game at 93-93.
Vanguardia said he faced uncertainty from his assistant coaches when the teams exchanged baskets in the final minute but he knew his veterans would deliver under pressure.
“My assistant coaches were the ones who felt nervous, they told me to put in defenders but I told them that the players on the floor are veterans and they know how to win games,” said Vanguardia. “I know they can win games and I have full trust in them.”
Phelps led the Fuel Masters with 29 points and 14 rebounds while Jazul lit up the rainbow territory with 15 points and going 4-of-5 from deep.
Joseph Eriobu also did the dirty work for Phoenix finishing with 14 points, and 11 rebounds.
Henton carried the Alaska offense with 30 points to go along 10 rebounds.
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